Saturday, May 08, 2010

Authorial insertion in text-based adventures?

Okay cats and kittens, if you can, I would like a little help from you. I'm hoping to write a paper on authorial insertion for my American Autobiography class (i.e., author-as-character thing). To do this, I need some material. In fiction it's fairly common - Nabokov's Bend Sinister and Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions use it. I suspect that many text-based adventure games do this. So far I've only been able to find John's Fire Witch (a review on the xyzzy page comments on it). And I guess that would be enough to work with, but I would like to know if I'm making some glaring omission. "Honorarium" and Jason Rohrer's "Passage" and "Gravitation" feature the author as the main character (or at least an autobiographical character), but they don't have words, which makes it a little more difficult to justify writing about in an English class.

edit: apparently TVtropes has a page for this

2 comments:

Andrea said...

Hmm, you've probably already thought about Tolstoy as Levin in Anna Karenina.

In video games, the creators are often present in an easter egg of some sort . . .

Let's see, the Ultima games had Lord British, who was essentially the creator Richard Garriott. Not a text-based game, but definitely story-based.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ultima_characters#Lord_British

Warren Spector appears in some of his games:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Spector#Cameo_appearances

Creator names often appear on tombstones or other flavor text or jokes in games like Nethack, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, etc. Not really authorial insertion, though.

Naturally, as video game teams have increased in size, authorial insertion has decreased.

Charly said...

Thomas More's Utopia would be a good fit.

The first text-based adventure that jumps to mind is Trogdor. Whether the narrator is the voice of Strong Bad or someone else would actually be a harder question than it might appear on its surface.